Help! Hen-Raised clutch weakening... one by one!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hannah'sPlaidChickens, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    My small flock of pet chickens includes a wide range of breeds, sizes, and colors of hens, and one dominant rooster. I let each of my hens have the oppurtunity to raise their own clutch of chicks naturally, and usually enjoy watching the babies flourish. Every once in awhile I get a weak chick that dies naturally, but nothing drastic in my coop has ever occured. Yesterday, before I went to school I went to see my birds and my hen with the youngest clutch of chicks (5 weeks old) only had three of her four babies with her. Her fourth chick was in the henhouse still, blindly stumbling around. He was very puffy, disoriented, and unstable on his feet. I didn't quorintine (spelling?) him right away for several reasons. First off, my mom was screaming at me to get in the car, and I had absolutely no time to do anything. Secondly sometimes chicks are disoriented when they are fast asleep and the over excited mama jumps off of them and runs out of the house, as this baby's mom had done when she heard me approaching the coop. I basically thought he would get better and that taking him to school (When another chick of the same clutch hatched weak and limp, I took it to my ag. supervisor who smuggled it throughout the day and ultimately saved it) would stress him out because he was away from his mom. That day he died. I just left it that however, and was soon back to my normal self, visiting the birds often.
    This morning another of the chicks was sick. Just as the other had been, he was weak, puzzled, and chirping loudly for his mother. Since I was (Thankfully) early this morning, I had time to take him away and set him up with a heat lamp in a broody pen in my room. But the other two surviving and healthy chicks are also looking a little puffy and a bit slow to greet me at the gate. I'm afraid the chicks will all end up dying. The chick I have right now is alive, thank goodness, but not well. Here is a list of his symptmos:
    1.Eyes not crusted closed bu closed, almost as if in sleep.
    2.All over puffy, wings descended and few feathers the baby has puffed up as if the chick is cold.
    3. Shivering
    4. Cool to the touch, despite being under heat.
    5. Unable to stand, disoriented and unstable.
    6. Quite, not even calling for mom.
    7. When set down refuses to move, even to walk towards mother's calls.

    The hen is also refusing to acknowledge his presence, and the other hens and chicks are pecking at him, before I removed him. Does anybody know what this disease is? Does it affect just chicks or all grown birds? how does it occur? How can I treat it, or should I just put down the whole clutch of chicks before they get into too much pain? Has anybody had this experience before? Please let me know, I have no idea what to do! I guess, for tonight at least, I'll stay up and keep feeding the baby, as he is eating. He wouldn't drink, so I softened bread and gave it to him, almost tricking him into drinking. I'll keep him warm (DUH!) and try to see if he can walk. Can't wait to heat from you soon!

    Thanks! Sincerly, Hannah
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Get a fecal float if possible. Is there any blood in their stools? Even if it is not, I think it may be cocci due to cold bodies, shivering, and puffyness. How has the weather changed? If it has rained recently, there could be an overflow of the protozoa in the soil and the chicks aren't quite ready for that.

    If fecal comes back positive for cocci, get amprol or sulmet and treat them all. Remember if you use sulmet though, there is a 10 day withdrawl time.
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Are they on medicated starter?
    If not then cocci is most likely the culprit... get the appropriate med and start them on it
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    Corydon, Indiana
    Any poison around?
  5. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    Thanks everybody for your feedback! I fell asleep around 11:00 with the chick in a basket and on heat, and, to my surprise this morning, I awoke to the chick happily chirping for feed. I checked him over, and he is complety recovered! Back out with the other birds, I still noticed the other chicks are a little puffy, and one still died from the same illness a few days ago, but I'm pretty much stumped. It's ovbious the heat saved the chick's life, but still.... could the hen maybe be trying to wean them too early by refusing to sit on them? My creeper has medicated starter in it, and I am hoping to get a fecal float tomorrow. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see if the chicks are getting any worse, but I hope the worst thing that could happen is I would just have to turn the heat lamp in my creeper on. My dad usually doesn't like when I do that because he thinks the wire might spark or something, but I'm sure he would let me on this occasion. Thanks again! I'll keep you posted! [​IMG]
  6. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Songster

    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    Sounds like (and I am no expert) that perhaps the Mom isn't taking care of them, by hovering them at night like they probably need, if the weather is getting cooler. You may have to take them away from her and keep them warm at night till they get feathered out. Or if you have a place to keep them warm with Mom, either way. Sure hope you can save them, and figure out what is wrong. Sometimes the hens get tired of messing with them as they get older. 5 weeks isn't feathered out, but would be getting big enough the mom might not be able to cover them all.

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